My dear friend,
I want to share today something that has been on my mind for over a week now. I think I need to type my thoughts out. So bear with me. Last week, as Brian was surfing my facebook page (he always uses my account) he saw a picture of a good friend of ours in the arms of another man. He called me in and said "I don't think this is appropriate, do you? I don't think ______ would like seeing his wife like that with another man." I agreed and we continued to scroll through her pictures only to find a picture of the 2 kissing. Ok! Now we both want to know what is going on. Not but 4 months before we were looking at pictures of her and her husband on a beach vacation kissing and now she has listed herself in a relationship with another man. WHAT?
Come to find out, my friend had an affair and is now divorced in a matter of weeks from her husband. This hit both Brian and I like a ton of bricks and we are both blown away. These are people we love and would go out on double dates with and now their marriage is over and very quickly. A family with 3 children that were sealed together are now torn apart. Both Brian and I are devastated and we really are not even involved.
Many nights I keep asking Brian "How do we fireproof our marriage?" We both agree that if we said "oh, that would NEVER happen to us," we are just setting ourselves up. So, for many nights now, Brian and I will talk about how we can prevent our marriage from falling apart. Fireproofing it, if you will.
We live in a world that divorce and infidelity is very common. I think the latest statistic said that 50% of couples get divorced. I hear of rumors of marriages being destroyed because of social media relationships and I see all the time couples around me going their separate ways. Whether I like it or not, it is the world around me. The only control I have is my own marriage and that is where my focus should be.
This is a list that Brian and I have come up with in fireproofing our marriage. If you have more to add, please share:
1. Do not allow yourself to linger in the danger zones. I am reading a book by Wendy Watson Nielsen and at the beginning of the book, she talks about being in Africa and taking a picture of a Leopard that walked right past their vehicle. Elder Nielsen wanted them to get out of the area immediately, but she was distracted of taking pictures of the creature. It wasn't until she developed her picture that she could see why he was in a panic. The look in the Leopard's eye was scary. She didn't see it because she was in the middle of it, but Elder Nielsen saw the danger and was trying to get her out as fast as he could.
I ask myself in all of my choices, am I lingering in a danger zone for my marriage? The friends I have on facebook, to the men I work with, to the media allowed in my home, to the way I treat my husband or talk about him to friends, am I in a danger zone? Is a circumstance that I allow myself in, a first step for a weaker marriage?
The answer is simply to be aware and don't get in the danger zones in the first place. As I think of my friend, she placed herself in what seemed harmless situations but really made it that much easier for her to slowly leave her husband. I find myself wanting to spend all my time with Brian, so that when danger is around he can see it and pull me out as quickly as possible.
2. Up keeping a strong spiritual marriage. We believe that marriage is ordained of God. If the foundation of a marriage is God then we feel that we must strive for the same goals on the spiritual level. Going to church, praying together, reading scriptures together, going to the temple, FHE. Brian and I have found that if one of us is not spiritually motivated, we not only stop the progression of ourselves, but also the spiritual progression of the other. Sad but true. Hence if the marriage is focused on selfless service, love and forgiveness which is key doctrine in our religion, that has to help with building a healthy relationship between husband and wife.
I like to term this that when you marry your husband, you have to break up with the world and never look up their number again.
3. Continue to court after marriage. This is where Brian and I have been very blessed. Brian's parents have always offered to watch Shaeler on Saturday night so we could have a date night. Date nights we talk and share and set goals and sometimes flirt. This can be a challenge some days, but we always miss each others companionship when we are not able to. I think praise and compliments and actions should be the biggest part of courting. Praise and validation from each other that we recognize the small things we do for each other. Kind words and not mocking or jabbing each other. If I had a boyfriend that jabbed at me all the time, the date would be over in 5 seconds. We strive to honor and esteem each other.
The other day, I asked Brian why he never gave me a nickname? He has given EVERYONE else a nickname but me. So I asked him. His reply was "no other name would fit such an elegant lady." Wow! Now that was a great thing to say. He was meaning to impress me, and yet he was being honest and I love him for it!
4. Focus on your perfect companion, they will come. It seems that Satan has a way of subtly pointing out the weaknesses of our spouse. So much that we forget the strengths and all we see are the weaknesses. But here's the deal, when we make it to the Celestial Kingdom our spouse will be perfect. So it doesn't make sense to sacrifice eternity with our Heavenly Father because the weaknesses of our spouse (that is just for this probation of life) which will be made perfect in the eternities. The price is too high to sacrifice for an affair that may or may not last. I remind myself of a couple of things everyday. 1. Look for Brian's strengths and 2. remember that I am not perfect and he has to live with me too.
To be honest, marriage is work. It is much like a play and this life we were never promised the fairy tale ending right now. We got through the first act in the premortal world and we are now at the second half where the climax is coming. Usually there is conflict to build the climax. You can't expect the happy ending of a play without the climax of the story. The happy ending will come in the next life. I did marry my Prince Charming and everything will work out in the end.
My heart goes out to our dear friends. I don't know all the details of their circumstance and I don't pass judgement. I wish only the best for them both and hope that I can learn from their choices. My marriage is everything to me. Brian is the best thing that has ever happened to me and he is so worth the fight!
Always loyal and true,